The Dentist


I arrive at the dentists with seconds to spare. The waiting room is packed. Eventually I’m in. “This will be a quick in & out” I say to myself. I’m glad: I’m starving, I stink (gym earlier), and I need a shower. My hair is stuck to my head and my plaits are limp with sweat.

Here’s the conversation between my dentist, Mrs A, and myself.

Mrs A: “…So we’ll X-ray it, and if there’s anything to report, I’ll give you a call this aft. Otherwise, try this (hands me a small tube of Sensodyne) and if it doesn’t behave, give me a call next week. It’ll need to come out.”

Me: “Great, thanks for squeezing me in. Appreciate it.”

Mrs A: “No probs at all. How’s the running going? You got any more marathons coming up?”

Me: [slightly taken aback] “Erm, have I seen you since Dubai? I’ve had to pull out of London, unfortunately – I’ve put quite a bit of running stuff on my blog about it all. Got the Yorkshire marathon later in the year, and a couple of halves before then…”

Mrs A: “OOOh – no I don’t think so. Was it hot? How hot? In the 30s? And you’re writing a blog? That sounds interesting. Is that about your marathons?”

Me: [feeling like a bit of a dick] “Oh, erm I guess it’s just about my journey with running and starting from nowhere really when I was in my teens. I was – ahem – a bit overweight and had low self-esteem and stuff…”

Mrs A: “Really? I never knew that about you! I thought you were just one of those people who’d always been into running?”

Mrs A: [she shouts towards the door] “Gemma! Come in here. Listen to this!”

Gemma comes in. She’s the dental nurse. I’m fiddling about with my bag, conscious of the fifteen people waiting downstairs to have their molars checked.

Mrs A: “Rachel’s just saying she was overweight and unfit when she was younger. We’re thinking about trying a bit of running aren’t we? And my niece really needs to do something. I think her weight is holding her back. I’ve said to her: “Come to a Zumba class with me” but she won’t. She’s not gone to university either, which is a real shame. What made you start running then?”

Me: [I don’t know where to begin. I have approximately 15 seconds to tell her my life story] “Oh, well it’s been massive in helping me with my self-esteem, to be honest. Far more important than the weight loss or aesthetics, I guess. Just proving to myself I could do something I never believed I was capable of. It’s been huge for me. Opened up so many other doors of possibilities…”

Mrs A: “Wow! Write down this blog address, and we’ll be having a read later, won’t we, Gemma?”

I write down the web address on a scrap of paper.

Me: “Listen, you’re busy, so I’ll head off coz there’s a full waiting room down there!”

Checking my teeth: 30 seconds.

Conversation around running: 10 minutes.

[I hope you’re reading this, Mrs A, and thanks for the chat.]


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